Mendoza is located in the wine country of Argentina. Red, white, light, crisp or full-bodied wine can all be found being produced in Mendoza. But, in addition to the awesome wine production, Mendoza has become one of the top culinary cities in South America. Top that off with the all-star wineries and the spectacular view of the Andes mountains and Mendoza is an up and coming travel destination!
Mendoza is like many wine towns that I’ve visited. There are all sorts of cute shops and cafe’s that line the streets of the town. You can find handcrafted items and treats that are unique to the area. In Mendoza, there are leather shops everywhere. Gorgeous leather items can be found throughout Argentina. It’s a girl’s dream town of purses, shoes, and coats!
The town of Mendoza is very picturesque. In many places, trees naturally provide a canopy over the streets. It’s lovely. Flower stands are on every corner. Even the police station is cute!
Instead of food trucks that you can find in many cities in America, there are open flame pits in Mendoza. All types of meats are prepared and sold to people on the street. Vendors even toast various types nuts over the flames.
A day without wine in Mendoza is like a day without sunshine! The wine is so good and there are many wineries and vineyards to visit. On this particular day, the first stop was Bodega Los Toneles. A six-course tasting and wine pairing awaited us!
We took an Uber to the winery. The bodega was really hard to find, just tucked away in the middle of the city. Hard to believe that this lovely setting and interesting winery were located in the middle of the town!
Bodega Los Toneles was built in 1922. The meaning of the name Bodega Toneles is Winery of the Tun. According to the dictionary, a tun is a large beer or wine cask. “Toneles was founded by the Armando family, who built their immigrant dream in the classical, elegant and charming style of the belle époque, using art nouveau details and ornaments to imprint the building with beauty and a unique personality,” according to the website.
After a tour of the facility and a brief class in winemaking, we settled in for our tasting. The tasting room was a very modern dining room and with unusual art that decorated the walls. It was very pretty.
The first food tasting that was presented was a lemon scented sweetbread with grilled onions and mustard, with a honey and chardonnay dressing. The wine pairing was a Fuego Blanco Gewurztraminer wine.
The wine was very light and refreshing. After all, sweetbreads are a little on the heavy side. The wine was served to balance the starter. I have to be honest, I just drank the wine. Sweetbreads aren’t really my thing. Others said they were very good, they just didn’t really realize what they were eating! hehe
The next course was really delicious. It was an Andean sweet corn humita with oxtail ragout on fresh bread. The soup was what we typically think of as corn chowder. The ragout was a little dollop of barbecue on the top. It was paired with a Fuego Blanco Malbec/Cabernet Franc. The red wine was very nice and light and complimented the heavy soup.
If you are a vegetarian, Argentina would be really difficult. Argentina is known for their beef. Most of the beef is grass-fed. The landscape of Argentina is relatively flat, so there’s a lot of grass that naturally grows and makes it easy to raise cattle. You might be aware that most American cattle are grain fed, mainly from corn.
Because the cattle in Argentina have a diet of grass, it results in the beef containing more omega-3 fatty acids. It’s widely thought that Argentinian beef produces less risk of cholesterol or heart disease. Music to my ears!
Some of my farm friends may not like me to say this, but cows don’t naturally have a diet of corn. Sometimes the cows are fed corn to fatten them up quickly so they can go to market. The cow’s diet may or may not contain hormones. Because the Argentinian cows are fed a more natural diet, the meat is a little more tender. I thought that it tasted better than most American steaks that I have had. Before I traveled there, I really didn’t believe that Argentinian beef could taste so much better than ours. I quickly learned how good it was!
The next tasting course was, of course, beef! According to the winery, the sirloin steak was dry aged for 30 days. If you are not familiar with what dry-aged beef means, it is beef that has been placed on a rack or has been hung for several weeks after being butchered. According to Wikipedia, ” Ageing is a process of preparing beef for consumption, mainly by breaking down the connective tissue”. Dry-aged beef is often found in more expensive restaurants or butcher shops in America.
The restaurant displayed the aging beef in a cool display case.
There were vegetables and a small salad that accompanied the steak. The wine pairing was a red wine, which was a fuller-bodied wine that stood up nicely to the beef. The wine was a Sapo de Otro Pozo Red blend. Everything about this course was delicious!
Many countries eat cheese plates at the end of the meal, sometimes in the place of the desert or at least before the desert is served. I love a good cheese plate. This was no exception!
The winery menu stated that the next tasting was an abrasado vigilante which translates in English to chestnut cream, fig and squash syrup, brie cheese, a chip, and cheese mousse. It was a very interesting presentation. The wine that was served was a Mosquita Muerta White blend. It was a little on the sweet side for me, more of a dessert wine. Many people liked it.
The dessert course was a grapefruit and white chocolate with coconut mousse with thyme syrup and cashew nuts. The wine pairing, in this case a sparkling (my favorite!), was a Fuego Blanco Brut Nature. The bottle was gorgeous!
Cheers! Mendoza is a great place to relax and experience some awesome food and wine! Stay tuned for next week when I visit another vineyard and Cava Wine Lodge in Mendoza!